New Durum Garners High Interest

A Little Bit Country


There has been great interest in a new variety name Joppa which was developed by the NDSU Durum Breeding Program. It was released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 2014 but production problems prevented its release in time for the 2014 growing season. As a fresh release for the 2014 planting season there is an above normal amount of Foundation seed available for 2015. Some of the people in-the-know tell me there is approximately 10,000 bushels available statewide to be grown under contract with local county crop/ag improvement associations and the Agricultural Experiment Station. If history is any indicator, the amount of allocations made to each interested county will be based on historic durum production. This will put Williams County at the top but still there will not be enough Foundation seed to meet all requests of interested Williams County growers.

Priced at $31.50 I am quite sure local requests will trend downward. All of the seed granted to each county must be grown under contract which has several conditions. First, the contract grower must apply for field inspection and such fields must pass the inspection. The inspector will first look for the field’s isolation from adjacent fields and free from noxious weeds and other crop plants. Second, following harvest the grower must condition the seed and make all seed available to the county association to be redistributed to other growers for the 2016 season.

The seed increase program is not for everyone. Promoting the availability of seed is sometimes difficult, especially if the grower is not known to be in the seed business. Then there is service and accommodation to the customer. Some might want 100 bushels on February1 and another might want his allocation on April 20, just about the time the Foundation grower is about to enter spring planting himself.

Pasta quality characteristics of Joppa include very high dough and gluten strength, high gluten index, and outstanding color. Compared with other popular varieties, Joppa was rated highest in pasta color tested by the NDSU Durum Quality Lab of samples grown at multiple North Dakota locations during 2008-2012. This variety also scores high on the mixograph scale.

Joppa has medium straw strength and a good disease resistance package including scab (FHB) resistance similar to other NDSU varieties.

In comparison with Mountrail, the longstanding industry standard variety, Joppa has high yield and better quality traits. The gluten strength of Joppa is a notable improvement over Mountrail. Joppa also consistently out-yields Mountrail in variety trials across the state.

Joppa was named in honor of Dr. Leonard Joppa, the renowned USDA durum research geneticist. Dr. Joppa made significant contributions to the improvement of durum wheat quality.

To help ensure genetic purity, Joppa durum will be protected under Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Title V and must be sold as a class of certified seed.

The directors of the Williams County Agricultural Improvement Association will be meeting sometime around mid-January to submit a request for Williams County. I do not envy their effort to estimate 2015 supply with expected demand for 2016. The 2016 supply should all be eligible for registered grade and the statewide price for this seed is likely to be high especially if commercial durum is in high demand. Presently there is a lot of this year’s durum still stored in farm bins with the hopes of following years crops will be low in vomitoxin so this year’s crop can be blended to meet the industries food standards.


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